Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I have several other posts in my mind that I want to write but I did say I would have a second race report. So it's off to the races again.
Akron Marathon Relay - September 26th.
I was in the office prior to this race talking with my friend and co-worker Kim. Her husband's company has entered a 5 person relay in this marathon for the past 5 years. She was telling me that one of the runners was injured and her husband (Bob) was scrambling for a 5th runner. The hard part was finding a person to run the final leg which would be 8 miles.
Without hesitating I said, "I'll do it." She looked at me like I was crazy. She should know better. She knows my triathlon insanity. Before we schedule any weekend work she always makes sure I don't have a race planned.
I was going to be down at the race anyways. Aimee would be on her own 5 person relay with her sister and friends.....running the final 8 mile leg. Why not go down and have some fun.
Race morning we got down to Akron and found everyone near the start line. Kim and Bob, Becky, Deana, Kristy, Kim and Kyle. Aimee's team was named the Intoxi-Kitties. They made up cool shirts and all.
The team I was on didn't have any fun name. Just the name of the company. Bob was running the first leg so Kim stuck with Aimee and I. Kim also said she had never seen the start of the marathon. I had to correct that so I took her up to the start line where she could see the fast runners and everyone else start the race.
After the race we headed to the first exchange zone. Bob would finish there and then all four of us would drive to the final exchange zone where Aimee and I would start our run. It was great having Bob and Kim give us a ride to the exchange zone instead of riding on the shuttle.
We made it to the exchange zone with plenty of time to spare and we waited. Several marathoners came through as well as some of the wheelchair athletes. The funny part is that I didn't know who I would be exchanging with. I would know based upon the bib number but I had never met the guy. I was told his name was Chris.
Finally 2 hours and 10 minutes after the start of the marathon my relay teammate came into view. My run of 8 miles would be starting.
Before I get into details I must add some additional comments.
- I had done no speed work prior to this run.
- I was two weeks post Dances with Dirt. Remember 18 miles of wonderful suffering?
- Bob had been talking me up to his co-workers. Greaaaaaaattt.
- Did I mention I have not done any speed work?
Yeah, the pressure was on. I was going to be the ringer for this team. I was just going to have some fun. The marathon finishes in Canal Park, home of the Akron Aeros AA baseball team.
So I grab the wristband from Chris and I head out on my run. I wanted to start a little on the conservative side so I could warm up and get into a good groove. The anticipated rain started to come down in a fine mist so that wasn't too bad.
I had several goals for my run.
- Have fun.
- Encourage the other runners
- Hunt down two teams I saw leave before me
- Do the best I could for the team.
I caught up to the 3:10 pacer who was having bad cramps and had fallen behind his group. When I caught the 3:10 group I told them to keep up the good work. They were looking good.
I did catch those two guys in front of me. I didn't get one of them until the last mile.
I did my best for the team. In fact I surprised the crap out of myself. During the entire run I kept myself right on the edge of blowing up. I held back enough to cover the distance. I pushed the downhills and stayed steady on the uphills.
Somehow I managed to do this with minimal nutrition. I forgot to carry my normal PowerGel and had to resort to Gu. I hate Gu, especially the chocolate which I had to take at one aid station. I did manage vanilla at the next aid station but that was late in the run.
I had a blast thanking the police officers and volunteers. I saw several friends along the route who cheered me on.
I crossed the finish line 51:18 after I started. I averaged 6:30/mile and had one downhill mile register 6:07. The team finish was 3:07:21 which put us in 8th place in the open division.
After I made my way through the food area I found everyone and we watched Aimee cross the finish line. Overall we had a great day at the Akron Marathon. I would recommend this race to anyone who wants to come to Ohio. It is top notch and they do a great job.
Fortunately I didn't feel like any of these people the days after the race.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Some of the drama from work is starting to die down. A little more manageable now.
So I've decided to take the time and write a quick summary of two races I was in "recently". These were relay events so I will focus on just my portion of the event. Below is the first event. Number two will be a second post.
Dances With Dirt - Hell, Michigan
This run was almost a month ago. A good friend of ours had asked us to be substitutes on her team. Aimee was going no matter what. My work schedule freed up so I could be the fifth person.
DWD is a 100k, 62 mile, extreme relay run. Those are their words not mine. The extreme part involves running trails. On the trails we encountered sand, poison ivy, mud, water, corn fields, roads, hills, rocks, roots, muck and all sorts of other stuff.
IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!
We had such a good time with Jen, Suzi and Nicole. Since I am a big studly type of guy you would think I was on a team with these girls........
but honestly I don't think it would have been as much fun as with....
Jen our fearless leader and team captain:
Nicole, the seasoned verteran:
Suzi, the third DwD virgin besides Aimee and myself:
The 100k course is divided into 15 legs. I ran 4 legs totaling almost 18 miles. Each time I ran I had fun, pushed myself hard and had fun. I absolutely loved the format, atmosphere, trails and people. Each segment has a name. How fun to say that you ran the Butt Kicker, Stripper Pole, Amputation, Where's the F'in Bridge or This Sucks.
My fourth leg was probably my favorite. Aptly named Vertigo due to the hills we would be going up and down. I was tired and sore and ready for one more run.
While waiting for Suzi to finish her leg I noticed a girl waiting for her teammate. I recognized her from the opening leg I ran called The Stampede. I was running behind her early on and her shirt said,"Pass me and tap my ass....Men Only!" I passed her during the Stampede and patted her ass while calling "tag". She had forgotten what was written on her shirt. I didn't think I would see her again.
Wouldn't you know it but I was about to start my last leg with her in front of me. I saw her teammate coming in and Suzi was about 200 yards behind. There was definitely a goal during this run. As this girl started her run I yelled out to her, "Hey 280 (team number)....I'm coming for you!" She looked back, recognized me, threw me a huge grin and took off like a bat out of hell.
Crap....this girl was fast. I would have to work pretty hard on this leg. The trails were twisty/turny through the woods. The line of sight was at most 50 yards before the trail curved left or right. Trees. Tall Grass. Other runners. I couldn't see her in front of me. I could hear her occasionally as she ran through some of the water. Not the splashing but the squealing as she was trying to avoid getting too wet.
It was too late in the day to worry about those types of things. I tried to find the path of least resistance and plowed through. I didn't want to loose any more ground on my target.
**** It may sound like I'm a dirty old man chasing a young girl through the woods using terms like target and goal. But I didn't know her name. Work with me on this people ****
Okay. So I'm getting closer. Slowly reeling her in. I have expended so much to this point I just run behind her. If I try to pass her she will just pass me back. We start chatting as we run along. She would pull ahead of me during an uphill and I would close the gap on the downhill.
We started to approach a corn field, one of many, and she pulled over to tie her shoe. How could I not take advantage of the opportunity. She stepped aside, bent over to tie her shoe and I stopped quickly to pat her on the butt. "Gotcha".
She agreed it was a fair pass as she started to follow me on the trail. We continued through fields or grass and corn until we popped out on a road. This road linked the two sections of trail together. I like to take advantage of the "easy" terrain of the road and pushed the pace. I wanted to pass some people before getting back on the trails.
My new running partner was just over my shoulder when she commented, "you sure are running fast." Damn straight. I was trying to prevent her from passing me. She finally passed me though on that road. She patted my ass as part of the pass.
DAMNIT. Now I really have to run hard to stay with her. For the rest of the run I was never more than 10 yards behind her. More tall grass. More corn fields. More hills.
With about one mile to go she made a proposition. Instead of us killing ourselves for the remainder of the run, if I stayed with her without passing...she would allow me to pat her ass for free at the exchange point. That sounded like a good deal so I agreed and just tried to stay with her.
We just so happened to be passing another guy who heard our deal and he wanted in on the action. "What about me?", he said. Well he didn't last very long so she didn't have to worry about the "other" perv running behind her.
I have now run 17 miles. I have one more to go. I need to last 9 more minutes on the trail behind her. My right IT band is not happy with me. It's starting to hurt. BUT I CAN'T STOP NOW!!!! I can't slow down. I'm hanging on for dear life as I run just off her shoulder.
I have never run this trail before. I do not know when the madness will end except for when we reach the exchange point....wherever the hell that is. I can hear people cheering through the woods. We must be getting closer.
Obviously she did know where we were because she starts to speed up. What the heck is going on! She's trying to drop me. I dig deep and stay with her. Up the last incline and through a three foot dip in the trail.
Immediately after the swoop in the trail we blast out of the woods into a sea of humanity which was the exchange point. I can only imagine how we looked to these people as we sprinted out of the woods. This poor girl being chased by some crazy guy dressed like this.....
As we stood there panting she looked over and said, "You didn't pass me." I conceded and didn't get my last shot at her butt. However, she wasn't done. "I owe you one more", she said.
Being the gentleman I am, I was more than happy to offer up my butt to my new friend Brianna.
Yeah. She was having way too much fun with this. I was spent though. I left it all on that trail thanks to Bri. I don't look too good......and I'm not talking about my choice of running attire.
I may never see Bri again but she helped make Vertigo one of the most memorable runs I have ever had. I looked up her teams results......she's 27. How did this 42 year old guy manage to run with this girl 15 years younger I may never know. I just shook my head after the run, because it was the only thing not hurting.
I had the most amazing time at DwD. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend the weekend with. Check out the video Jen's husband put together.